Va. COVID-19 rates climbing as vaccines are released
First vaccine dose administered to NYC critical care nurse
Virginia’s COVID-19 numbers continue to climb, with 26,279 more cases and 206 deaths recorded last week, according to the Virginia Department of Health’s Dec. 14 update.
The state has had 285,149 cases and 4,414 deaths in total as of Dec. 14. The seven-day average number of new daily cases is 3,754, with 44.1 new daily cases per 100,000 people, VDH reports.
Monday marked the start of a new set of statewide restrictions, which Gov. Ralph Northam announced last week, including a nightly curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. through the end of January. Virginia’s COVID rates are lower than most of the rest of the country, which has recorded more than 16 million cases and nearly 300,000 deaths, but the state has seen significant increases, particularly in Southwest Virginia, where positivity rates continue to exceed 20%. As of Dec. 11, the state’s seven-day positivity rate was at 10.9%, an increase of .1% from Dec. 7.
There are currently 2,260 people hospitalized with COVID or awaiting test results in Virginia, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA), which tracks numbers at 115 hospitals statewide. Thirty-one percent of the state’s 2,964 ventilators are currently in use, according to VHHA, and 77% of ICU beds are currently occupied by both COVID and non-COVID patients.
Meanwhile, the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed across the states Monday, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine Friday. Sandra Lindsay, a nurse and director of critical care at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York City, was the first person in the nation to receive the vaccine outside of clinical trials.
Virginia expects to receive about 72,000 doses that will be given to frontline medical workers providing care to COVID patients. The state is set to receive 480,000 doses by the end of the month if Moderna’s vaccine is approved, with health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities prioritized. Gov. Ralph Northam and State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver have said that it will likely take several months, through early summer, for all Virginians to be vaccinated.
Oliver and other state health experts are scheduled to appear 7 p.m. Wednesday on a televised and streamed town hall meeting about the vaccine, airing on several TV stations statewide. Questions can be submitted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #VaccinateVirginia.
The following health districts reported positivity rates above 10% as of Dec. 11:
- Alleghany (Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig and Roanoke counties and the cities of Covington and Salem) — 12.7%, up from 10.4% as of Dec. 3
- Central Shenandoah (Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge and Rockingham counties and the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton and Waynesboro) — 16.3%, up from 14.5%
- Central Virginia (Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell counties and Lynchburg) — 15.5%, up from 15.1%
- Chesapeake — 12.8%, up from 11.5%
- Chesterfield — 10.1%, up from 9.7%
- Cumberland Plateau (Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties) — 20.8%, down from 24.0%
- Eastern Shore (Accomack and Northampton counties) — 10.7%, down from 11.7%
- Fairfax — 10.6%, down from 11.5%
- Hampton — 12.3%, up from 11.9%
- Lenowisco (Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the city of Norton) — 21.6%, down from 22.4%
- Lord Fairfax (Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties and Winchester) — 13.2%, up from 11.8%
- Loudoun — 12.1%, up from 11.8%
- Mount Rogers (cities of Bristol and Galax and counties of Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington and Wythe) — 21.9%, down from 23.2%
- New River (Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski counties and Radford) — 12.0%, up from 12.7%
- Norfolk — 11.5%, up from 10.1%
- Peninsula (Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, James City and York counties) — 10.8%, up from 9.5%
- Pittsylvania-Danville — 12.4%, down from 14.3%
- Portsmouth — 11.7%, up from 8.1%
- Prince William — 15.4%, down from 15.6%
- Rappahannock (Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties and Fredericksburg) — 11.3%, down from 11.8%
- Roanoke — 12.6%, up from 12.2%
- Virginia Beach — 10.7%, remaining same as last week
- West Piedmont (Franklin, Henry and Patrick counties and the city of Martinsville) — 16.4%, down from 18.3%
These are the 10 Virginia localities that have seen the most cases in the state, as of Dec. 14:
- Fairfax County: 37,057
- Prince William County: 21,272
- Virginia Beach: 13,191
- Loudoun County: 11,937
- Chesterfield County: 10,822
- Henrico County: 10,087
- Richmond: 7,704
- Chesapeake: 7,620
- Arlington County: 7,463
- Norfolk: 7,395
Globally, there are 72.3 million reported COVID-19 cases and 1,615,052 confirmed deaths, as of Dec. 14. The United States, which has the most confirmed cases and deaths worldwide, has seen 16.2 million confirmed cases so far, with 299,246 deaths attributed to the coronavirus since February.